Cup of Joe

Sighing to herself, Sakura dragged the potted potted yucca plants to the store front and arranged them to block out the window. Satisfied that she couldn’t see out into the street she dusted her hands on her apron and was about to turn back around when her best friend and coworker hissed at her from the back room.

“Put. The. Plants. Back. Where. They. Belong.”

“But Ino━”

“No one can look into the shop idiot!” Ino crossed her arms in front of her chest, careful not to drop the spool of ribbon she had been fetching for an arrangement. “And yucca need minimal light, you’re blasting them with it by putting them in the window!”

“It’s cloudy out━”

“Put. It. Back.”

Sakura arranged everything back to the way they were and the slumped onto the barstool behind the cash register. No one could see her unless they walked into the shop and moved around the potted plants carefully set up to make the shop look like a rainforest.

She drummed her fingers on the countertop and then rest her arms on it and lay her head on the glass. She wanted to go out and get her hot chocolate and pastry from the corner bakery but that would mean possibly running into someone she was avoiding.

And today wasn’t the day she would be brave enough to face him.


The temperature outside was dropping as it was slipping into late autumn, early winter. Sakura’s exhales came out like thin clouds and disappeared into the white sky.

Like cigarette smoke when it hits.

As soon as the thought entered her mind Sakura regretted it. Her chest throbbed with a dull ache

Great.

Sakura stuffed her face into her pea coat and kicked at a random pebble on the sidewalk. She didn’t have time to mope around. There was an exam to get to.


The corner bakery offered discounts on beverages to all the shops on the street, even the ones on the other side across 4 lanes of traffic.

It was always weird to see a tattoo parlor in the north east part of the city. All the shops were high end in the more expensive neighborhood.

Sakura and Ino had walked in for a a consultation and were shocked by how classy the parlor looked. It really blended in with all of the other stores and restaurants in the area despite the service that was provided. It was one of those instances where they shouldn’t have judged before visiting.

It still didn’t make it any less hilarious to see the artists and piercers lined up at the bakery in their cut up clothing and wild hair and arms marked up with beautiful masterpieces standing next to businessmen in their suits and Stepford Wives women with their expensive hair styles from the over priced salon next door.

Sakura eyed the tattoo parlor across the street and kept watch for anyone coming out of the shop. When it looked like the close was clear she called out to Ino and Mrs. Yamanaka that she was making a coffee run.

Ah. I fucked up.

The spiky hair of the person she was avoiding was easy to make out as she approached the corner the bakery stood at. He dropped the cigarette from his hand and squashed it under his foot before picking it up and tossing it into the closest trash bin.

He stuffed a hand into his hoodie pocket and yanked open the bakery door. Sakura was close enough to hear the tinkling of the bell attached to the door.

He was going to come out with a coffee in hand, the only thing he would ever buy for himself. That and the scones he would drop off at the florist.

Used to drop off at the florist.

After coming out of the bakery he would smell like fresh bread and coffee with a kick of mind and cigarette smoke.

The same smell of the sweater Sakura kept bundled up in a corner of her room. Although the scent on the fabric was fading and taking on the smell of her home.


“Just go talk to him.”

“It’s not that simple Ino.”

“You’re being stupid.” Ino popped her gum bubble and snipped another stalk of sunflowers to adjust the height for her current order. “I bet he would take you back if you just bought him a coffee.”

Sakura scoffed and slammed the fridge door closed, harder than she meant to. She cringed and examined the glass for any damage. Everything was fine and there were no cracks to ruin the display of arrangements inside.

She didn’t need Ino to point out how ridiculous she had been acting. The longer she avoided Sasuke the worse she felt and the dumber she felt she was.


No matter how much she avoided him, eventually she was going to run into him at the bakery. It was the center of the shifts and the place they had first met.

“I shouldn’t have said the things I said,” Sakura rushed out the words in lieu of a greeting. “Before I mean. It’s not your fault I have classes and tests and that we both work and━”

“How were exams?”

“What?” Sakura gaped up at him. Sasuke stood there, as composed as usual.

As composed as he always was except for when she yelled at him the week before her exam period.

“How were your exams? Aced everything?”

“Y-yeah, I did.”

“Knew you would.” Sasuke nodded his head in the direction of the bakery. “It’s cold. Buy me a coffee?”

“That’s it?” Sakura asked, baffled. “You’re making this too easy.”

Sasuke raised an eyebrow and shrugged his shoulders.

“So?” He asked, opening the door for her.

Sakura ran a hand down her face and shuffled inside.

No way was she telling Ino that she was right the entire time.

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